*Linux Guide

A month with LMDE MATE 3-2013

Introduction

In previous articles i said that Linux Mint is an excellent, superior GNU/Linux Distro, in whatever available released version. Two years ago i wrote a user Guide for LMDE, that you can see here.
Two months ago the new LMDE was released, so i'm here to show you my experience with it. In this brief review i will say about system installation, apps installation, updating the system, and so on. Moreover i show you what i had made in a month with Linux Mint Debian Edition, that people call simply LMDE.
Good reading :-)

Technical sheet

  • Name: Linux Mint Debian Edition
  • Version: 3/2013
  • Type: live/installable
  • Orientation: Desktop
  • Architecture: x86-64
  • Based on: Debian GNU/Linux Testing
  • Desktop environment: MATE
  • Kernel: 3.2.32-1 x86_64
  • Minimal system requirement: CPU 64 Bit, 512 MB of RAM (recommended 1024), graphic card able to support at least a 800x600 screen resolution, USB port, DVD driver
  • Release Cycle: Semi-Rolling Release
  • Update Method: APT, Synaptic Package Manager


LMDE desktop as you see just after installation

Test

My experience was performed totally with the installed system on a PC with these characteristics . All hardware and peripherals was properly recognized and configured.
There are no need to edit boot options, before start the live session.

  • Kernel = OK
  • X Server loading = OK
  • Screen resolution = OK
  • Devices Automount = OK

Options and loading time

Once live DVD booted, you go into an options screen where you can choose which one of options is suitable for you.
The loading screen is graphical, and there are no options to edit during this loading. X server start smoothly, so you can go to the desktop without troubles.
The entire live system loading take about two minutes. Once installed, the system require about 25 seconds to complete the loading. Very very fast, right?
A very useful welcome-window appear just after the desktop is complete. In it you can find a lot of infos, suggestion, services, and so on.


Welcome window

System Installation

LMDE system installer is the same of Debian GNU/Linux so it work very well, and almost all users can install the distro without troubles. Let me showing the installation procedure. I installed LMDE in my Packard Bell PC on March 24 2013.

  1. Selecting system language:
    The first step is language selection. Scroll the list until your own language, then click on "Forward"


    Select language

  2. Selecting Timezone:
    Now you must select your own timezone to synchronize your clock. Usually once you had selected the system language, the correct timezone is already selected. If not, point the cursor on your country and click on it. Then click on "Forward"


    Select timezone

  3. Selecting Keyboard layout:
    Usually once selected the system language, the correct keyboard layout is selected too. If not, scroll the list to install the correct one. Once done click on "Forward"


    Select keyboard layout

  4. Setting up the system user:
    In this step you must set up the system user. You can insert a picture. Then you must insert the real user name, the user nick name, its password (repeated twice), and the Hostname (if your machine is part of the home/business network).
    Be careful to insert a strong password especially if there are more than one user of the PC. Click on "Forward".


    User set up

  5. Selecting the hard drive:
    In this step you have to select the hard drive in which you want to install LMDE. Be careful, please!


    Select the correct hard drive

    In my specific case, i want to select a specific hard drive partition, so i had choose a manual partitioning. Before proceeding, the installer show an alert window that you must reading.


    Be careful!

  6. Installing the bootloader:
    In this step you had to select where you want to install the bootloader. The best choice is to install it in the MBR. Usually it will be /dev/sda as you can see in the picture below.


    Installing bootloader

  7. Summary:
    In this step you have to read the summary of all operation that will be performed. Read carefully at least two time. Remember that the installation procedure will erase all data in the selected partition or even in the entire hard disk. If you are unsure, click on back button to restart your set up.


    Summary of installation

  8. Partitioning the hard drive:
    If you had an already partitioned hard drive, you have to choose in which partition you want to install LMDE. In my case i installed it in the /dev/sda9. Be careful to choose the correct one, please. Once done click on "Forward" button.


    Select the correct partition

  9. Installation:
    The system required about 20 minutes to complete the procedure. At the end i rebooted the machine.


    Installation in progress!

Desktop environment and Look

LMDE is equipped with MATE a well known Gnome 2 fork. In this distro MATE is very effective, easy to use, solid, and fast. The look is very similar to that of Windows®, so the user can feel itself more familiar with LMDE. At the bottom there is the panel, with main menu button on the left, and some applet on the right for internet connection, sound volume, system update, and clock with date. There are only few icons on the desktop.
Very important, effective, and useful is the main menu, from which you can control almost all system. You can customize it with a specific tool that you can find in the Control Panel and right-clicking on the menu button. The search bar in it is a very effective, useful, and powerful tool inside a tool. I think that the Mint Menu is the more useful tool in the all GNU/Linux world!


The Main Menu

You can customize your own desktop with some tools that you can find in the Control Center. In my case i had moved the panel from bottom to top, while on the bottom i had placed a new panel that is like a dock. Changing the wallpaper is a breeze; just select your own wallpaper, right click on empty desktop and click on "Change desktop wallpaper" item in the menu, then follow instructions.


My own LMDE desktop

You can change the windows decoration theme, searching a new one on internet. I installed MCity Graphite and you can see it in the picture below. However the Mint-x/Mint-y themes are simple, elegant and beatiful.


Windows decoration theme

Software

LMDE give to user a lot of applications and tools, so i don't list them. You can writing document, drawing graphics, listening to music, watching movies, surfing the internet, sharing documents in a network, messaging to your friends, and so on. You can do almost everything you want, without installing extra software, but if you want other tools and apps, you can use the Software Manager, a powerful tool that offer over 55.000 software packages. Yes folk, over fifty thousand packages free of charge.


The Software Manager

You can also use the old, but much stronger Package Manager Synaptic. With it you can not only install packages, but also update, remove, fix, and block them.
To update packages and system, there is one of the much more precious Mint Tools, Mint-Update.


Mint Update

During my month with LMDE i installed following apps and tools:
  • Audacious a lightweight music player, with simple interface
  • Audacity to edit music tracks
  • Bluefish an xhtml editor that i use every day to write my documents
  • gFTP an FTP client that i use to manage files on remote host
  • Iceape a lightweight web browser from Mozilla Foundation
  • Mixxx a tool to mix my music like a DJ
  • Xfburn a tool to burn CD and DVD, much more effective and easy compared with Brasero
Every day i used Bluefish, Banshee, VLC and Caja. Often i used LibreOffice Write, GIMP, and Transmission.

Usability

During my month with LMDE, i use it daily for at least 6 hours, without system crash. The only application that had crashed was Banshee, but only two or three times.
The password for LMDE use is "easy".
Installing the system, as i wrote before, is easy. Installing software is also easy. Customizing LMDE is easy and funny. Setting up a connection is easy, watch movies, and listen to music are easy, writing documents is easy. Suspend and resume the system is easy, update it is also easy and effective.
As i wrote for Linux Mint 14, also LMDE is a very user friendly GNU/Linux distro. Even a novice can use LMDE without troubles, so i can say that LMDE is one of the best Linux distro in the world.

Performances

In the very moment that i write this review, there are following applications in action:
  • Bluefish xhtml editor
  • Banshee music player (David Garrett - Kashmir)
  • Iceape web browser
  • Caja file manager
  • System monitor
The uptime was 52 hours. RAM in use is 788 MB with CPU at 8-10%. I haven't other to say.

Pros

  • Debian Testing based operating system
  • Rolling release
  • Lightweight operating system
  • LMDE is a GNU/Linux distro suitable for whatever you desire

Cons

  • Not found

Why using this distro?

  • If you want a solid distro,
  • If you want a distro that preserve the resources of your computer,
  • If you want a distro that don't require fresh installation for years,
  • If you don't like desktop environment such as Unity, KDE, Gnome 3 and so on,
.... LMDE is for you!

Useful Links

Conclusions

What i had made with LMDE in a month?
I wrote a book - Patologia in Medicina Cinese (Pathology in Chinese Medicine) - published with Lulu.com.
I wrote a lot of post on my personal Blog
I entirely edited my website on Traditional Chinese Medicine
I visited thousand of web pages, listened hundred of songs, watched a lot of movies.
My experience with LMDE was simply fantastic. To thanks with its developer, i donate 10 € to Linux Mint.
I recommend LMDE to all, from newbie to geek, from east to west, from south to north.
That's all folks!

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